Learn How Dr Tiarna Ernst Plays AFL AND Delivers Babies!

Posted by Tracey Emney on

What does a typical day look like for you? 
I can honestly say that I definitely fill up every spare minute in my day. From the minute I wake up I am flat out busy, until I collapse into bed at the end of the day. To make things even more chaotic and confusing, I am currently on night shifts at work and balancing a busy schedule of AFLW pre-season. I am a doctor that is specialising in obstetrics & gynaecology and spend my days (and nights) delivering babies and caring for women during pregnancy and who may have gynaecological issues. I also play for the Western Bulldogs in the AFLW. 
I generally sleep during the day after night shift, which finishes at 8.30am, then wake by 3.30pm to get ready for training. I try and make sure I have a good meal before training and then will be at Whitten Oval training from 4.30-9.30pm training in preparation for the second AFLW season. By the time I get home, eat and have a shower, I am collapsing into bed by close to midnight. I then have a quiet day stretching and preparing food the next day and get ready to be back at work for night shift the following night starting at 8pm. Then the cycle begins all over again!
How would an ideal day look for you?
An ideal day would be where I had time to stop, sit down and have a coffee, oh and also sleep more!. You can always be doing something more to assist your recovery from the gruelling pre-season sessions, so having more time to sleep, stretch, and extra roller work would be amazing.
Is football just one part of your life or is it all consuming? 
Football is just one very unique part of my life, but it does definitely consume a great deal of time in my day. It has come with sacrifices, particularly being able to visit my family in Queensland. With a demanding training schedule and trying to juggle work shifts as well, it doesn't leave much time to be able to spend a few days away from home. 
What are some of the biggest sacrifices you make being a professional sportsperson?  
I feel incredibly honoured and privileged to be in the position I am, as a elite sportsperson, as I recognise that this title comes with responsibility to be a positive role model and inspire the next generation of athletes, particularly girls and women. But with this comes sacrifice of time spent with family and friends. It makes it even harder when family and friends may live interstate. A few of the other big sacrifices I have found, is time to watch TV/movies or spend a quiet weekend at home sleeping and relaxing. There always seems to be something else you need to do for training, or making up work shifts so that you can make training.   
What role does food and eating play in your day to day life?
Food and eating play a MASSIVE part in my day. The saying "abs are made in the kitchen" is completely true! High quality nutrition and a regular frequency of meals throughout the day is one of the major contributors to my strength, endurance and recovery. Naturally I am a very lean build and so have had to significantly increase my dietary intake to be able to increased my lean muscle mass and withstand the demanding schedule of very busy shifts at work and AFLW training. The hardest thing is finding time to eat! I recognise the importance of healthy clean meals and always ensure I have prepared something interesting to eat. I have to have 5-6 meals a day, so you need to make things interesting so it doesn't become boring.
Do you have any specific dietary needs or intolerances?
I have converted to a gluten free diet for the past 5 years following many years of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. This change has completely eliminated all of my symptoms and therefore I have continued to follow a gluten free diet. 
What five foods would you take to your desert island?
Avocado, mangoes, goats cheese, macadamia nuts and tomatoes. The perfect side for a few oysters and scallops I pull off the island rocks. I can do that right?
How does We Feed You support your lifestyle?
WFY has perfectly complimented my crazy busy schedule. It's just so refreshing to have such a unique meal company that recognises the importance of catering for intolerances and still valuing fresh and nutritious meals. I had previously really struggled to find companies with large selections of gluten free meals, and sacrificed freshness and nutritional content for the benefit of convenience. Knowing how time poor I am, I have utilised these meals as the perfect lunch or dinner portion after training and have enjoyed them all!
What is your go to Melbourne food/restaurant?
I am a big fan of healthy brunches and currently enjoying a few local cafes who have been creating some delicious, fresh and vibrant brunch options - Shout out to Zen Den Cafe in Eltham and Mabel Jones in Greensborough!
What are you cooking or eating at the moment?  
Can't get enough of roasted sweet potato dusted with cinnamon. Seriously, you all need to go and try it. I cycle a few regular dishes throughout the week which I make in bulk and then portion size them for quick on the run meals throughout the day. (Sweet potato dusted with cinnamon feature in a lot of them.) I am currently enjoying poached chicken with either rice or quinoa, sweet potato and lots of green vegetables. I also like making a variation of a Mexican bowl with mince, kidney beans, lime rice, salad and a big dollop of guacamole. I then pull out a WFY meal for lunch or dinner - Moroccan chicken with quinoa being one of my favorites.
If you could have your very own 24/7 private chef, what would you be eating?
I enjoy eating lots of things and trying different flavors and styles of cooking. All I would request is that whatever they cook, it's fresh, flavorsome, vibrant and nutritious! 
To learn more about Tiarna follow her on Instagram

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